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snow-driving-tipsIt’s all but certain that Hampton Roads will see significant snowfall this weekend! Some areas are anticipating up to a foot of the white stuff! Driving will of course be hazardous, so keep in mind that we’ll be available 24/7 all weekend by phone or text at 757-622-5000 if you need us! Here’s the best tip we can give you for driving safely in the snow and ice: don’t do it! If your trip can wait, don’t take the risk of driving in inclement weather. However, if you absolutely must drive in the snow this weekend, make sure you and your vehicle are fully prepared for the trip. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to driving in winter weather conditions:

Winter Weather Driving Tips:

Following Distance is 8-10 seconds. The normal safe distance is 3-4 seconds. Increase this to 8-10 in snow and ice. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.

Understand Anti-Lock Breaks. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS) and need to slow down quickly, press hard on the pedal-it’s normal for the pedal to vibrate a bit when the ABS is activated.

Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.

Remove all snow and ice from your vehicle prior to driving. Don’t remove only the snow and ice that blocks your view. If snow and ice remains on your car while you are driving, it could fly off your car and hit the windshield of the cars around or behind you. This can make it impossible for the driver to see and may cause an accident.

Use the brake and gas pedal gently. Avoid sudden actions.

Stay cautious and aware at all times. Avoid using your phone and other distractions while you are behind the wheel.

Avoid tailgating. Keep a safe distance between your car and others on the road. And remember, the larger the vehicle, the longer the stopping distance.

Allow yourself extra time for travel. Drive slowly in ice and snow.

Winter Vehicle Prep Tips:

Make sure your tires are properly inflated. When the temperature drops your tire pressure drops too. Properly maintaining your tire pressure can allow your car to maneuver more easily. This makes driving safer – especially on rough or weather-ridden roadways.

Winterize your car. Check all fluids, make sure your radiator is winterized, maintain a gas tank above half-full and keep windshield washing fluid on hand. Ensure your tires are in good condition and are inflated to the recommended pressure. Under inflated tires may jeopardize your car’s handling.

Make sure your gas tank is always at least half full. This will ensure that your fuel lines will not freeze.

Adjust your mirrors to reduce glares and blind spots. If it’s snowing or raining, it’s already hard enough to see. By adjusting these simple safety devices, you can reduce the chances of being in an accident due to visual impairment from weather conditions.

Shop around for winter tires, tire chains, and tow chains. If you live in parts of Virginia that are prone to snow and ice, look into these safety additions for your vehicle. They can help prevent skidding and can also get you out if you find yourself stuck.

Keep your car stocked with emergency kits. If you find yourself stranded, having blankets, water, flashlights, candles, and a first aid kit on hand can help keep you and your family warm and safe while you wait for help to arrive.

No matter how much we prepare, accidents are sometimes unavoidable. We don’t have control over the roads or other drivers’ actions. If you or a loved one is a victim of an auto accident due to the negligence of another, Rutter Mills can help. Contact our attorneys at 757-622-5000 to discuss your claim.

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